The staff at Lake Ridge Ace Hardware are problem solvers, so it’s no surprise that customer Marlene Maxon came to the store this past December with an unusual request. Her family was planning a trip to a local ski resort and she wanted a way to include her father, Kenny, a World War II veteran in his 90s. Kenny has limited mobility and must use a walker or wheelchair, so he would have trouble getting around in the snow at the ski resort. Still, his family wanted him to be a part of their vacation.
It didn’t take long for Mark Jensen, a manager of Lake Ridge Ace and former member of the ski patrol, to come up with a solution: create a platform where the wheelchair could sit and slide along on a pair of skis.
Marlene visited a nearby ski shop where the staff donated a pair of skis to the cause. Then, Jensen and Lake Ridge Ace donated some time and materials. “We put 2x4s on top of the skis, then topped it with piece of plywood,” says Jensen. “We used aircraft cable, eyebolts and then turnbuckles so they could secure the wheelchair to the platform. It took a couple of hours to finish.”
Marlene, Kenny and his family were thrilled with the finished product. His grandchildren enjoyed pushing him through the snow on the skis. They were able to take Kenny to the ski resort at the top of the mountain, have a family meal and let him enjoy being out in the snow with the family. A few strangers even took turns pushing Kenny on the sled as he became a fast celebrity among the crowd at the resort.
“Marlene very much appreciated the effort we put into the design and building of the sled,” says Jensen. “She said Kenny was able to participate with the family in doing things he hadn’t been able to do for a long time.” As a thank you, she bought a large cake for the staff.
“Our customers are not just customers, they’re our neighbors,” says Jensen. “Giving back to the community helps the community and often I think it gets paid forward. We also allow our customers to be a part of giving back through fundraising opportunities like the Grill Your Ace Off promotions and collections for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.”